If you’re anything like me, karaoke bars are reserved solely for watching others sing elaborate renditions of throwbacks from artists like Journey, while I sit in amusement. Getting up on stage can be terrifying and a little too embarrassing for my comfort. Generally speaking, I want nothing to do with it. So you can imagine how unsure I felt when I was assigned opening coverage of the Voicebox Karaoke Lounge in RiNo; I had some concerns to the say least.
Upon our entering, the staff greeted myself and four guests with open arms, at which point we were led back to a private, soundproof studio suite — complete with disco lights and several television screens. The best part: no audience to embarrass myself in front of.
In each suite, you are in control of everything from the songs to the lighting from your smartphone or through the remote control that is provided. It doesn’t take long for the night to turn into a full-on sing-a-long complete with a dance party.
I Immediately put a drink order in, because a little liquid courage never hurt anyone. If you’re looking to venture outside the realms of beer and wine, look to Voicebox’s cocktail and saké selections.
The Blossom ($9) is made with a light lavender-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon and cranberry. It’s a sweeter cocktail with a subtle enough kick to have you on your feet belting out Aretha Franklin. The Veruca Salt ($8) is a creative take on the classic margarita with hibiscus-infused tequila, agave syrup, grapefruit juice, lime, soda and of course, a salted rim.
Another great option is saké; give the Hakutsuru Awayuki Sparkling ($10) a try. It’s served chilled and carbonated and it has just the right amount of fruity aroma with hints of peach, pear, rice and watermelon.
Of course with all the dancing, singing and drinking, you’re bound to want a bite to eat. Voicebox offers a menu full of bite-sized, sharable foods. Their menu is broken up into sections of skewers, sliders, dippers, salad cups and desserts. While you truly can do no wrong with any of the foods that Voicebox provides there are a few standouts in my mind.
The bacon cheeseburger sliders ($9) weren’t your average dried-out patty drowning in garnishes. Each beefy bite was juicy and cooked to perfection, made with peppered bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onion and their house-made special sauce with a side of seasoned fries.
For dessert, order a round of chocolate cake pops ($5) — a rich and dense cake ball fit to please any chocolate lovers’ cravings. If you’re not a fan of chocolate (gasp) try the creamsicle push pops ($5), two dreamy ice cream pops finished with a cool whipped cream — an homage to a childhood treat.
With a full stomach and 15 minutes left, I finished what was left of my cocktail, queued up some Bieber and joined friends as we danced and belted every tone-deaf line of “Boyfriend.” Despite my initial qualms with this assignment, I find myself anxiously anticipating my next visit to VoiceBox RiNo.
Voicebox is now open in the RiNo district. Reservation requests can be made online for a minimum of six guests. Suites can be booked by large or small parties, while rates vary from individual to group and premier. 2601 Walnut Street, Denver.
All photography by Lucy Beaugard.